Hidden for-edge paintings

Hidden fore-edge painting (as opposed to standard fore-edge painting) was developed in the 17th century as a novelty technique for book decoration. The beauty of this technique lies in the ‘trick’, in that the painting is hidden or secret unless you know to look. As the book stands on the shelf, and as you’d hold it normally, the painting is undetectable and usually looks like a gilded or marbled fore-edge. However, when the book pages are splayed by bending the text block, the hidden fore-edge painting is revealed. Sometimes, this content was relevant to the text, and other times it was simply an interesting or attractive scene. Typically, these paintings were landscapes, battles, religious scenes or figures, or heraldry. Occasionally, even erotic images were hidden in this way.

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Friends of Type

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In their own words: “Friends of Type features original typographic design and lettering – fresh visual content – practically every day, by the four primary contributors. Posts are meant to log ideas, express ourselves, and inspire each other and our readers. The last week of every month we feature a guest designer, someone we admire and think will elevate our work and the site through their contribution. This is a sketchbook, an archive, a dialogue. The posts are sketches and ideas on visualized language; a collaborative habit born out of the real-time interactions that made us friends in the first place.” Visit them to for some inspiration… view the posts in order, or hit the ‘random’ button for a… well… random selection.


Pictorial Webster’s Encyclopaedia

deluxe-websters-624x623John Carrera of Quercus Press has created a hand-bound, letterpress printed book of all of the imagery from the 1864 edition of the Pictorial Webster’s Enyclopedia, a snapshot of all the things that were interesting to 19th century America. The project originally started with the discovery of the 1864 edition’s original letterpress printing blocks, donated to the Yale University library in the 1970’s… over 13,000 tiny, dusty, out of condition lead blocks, unlabelled, unsorted and unidentified. Continue reading Pictorial Webster’s Encyclopaedia